Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Meet Australian YA Author Wendy Laharnar

Today we welcome YA author Wendy Laharnar to Carpinello's Writing Pages.

A bit about Wendy:

Wendy lives by the sea with her husband on the east coast of Australia. She looks forward to visits from her two adult children and her grandchildren. Most of her time is spent at the computer, and yet her writing output has fallen off dramatically since 2011-12 when her novel The Unhewn Stone and her short stories were published. Wendy decided that it’s now time to drop everything else and concentrate on new stories!

Why did you pick to write books for young adults?

I usually write for my own entertainment, but my stories tend to suit both young and old. However, with The Unhewn Stone, I had high school History students in mind. I wanted them to live in the Middle Ages by trapping them inside a medieval legend, with Stefan, to experience the conditions and culture first hand.

What types of books do you like to read?

I enjoy reading mainstream mysteries (Tami Hoag is a favourite author at the moment), historical Romances (Victoria Holt and Sharon Penman style) and old adventures like The Scarlet Pimpernel and A Tale of Two Cities. Having just seen Les Misérables at the movies, and loved it, I grabbed the free ebook copy from Kindle classics. Don’t know when I’ll get to read that. 

Okay hold everything! I rarely find another person who says they enjoy reading A Tale of Two Cities! Thank you, Wendy!

In nonfiction, I like conspiracy theories, (such as The Burmuda Triangle and Erich von Daniken’s Chariot’s of the Gods). I also enjoy royal biographies, mythology, astronomy and everything to do with the middle ages; I delve into that for research.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

I think about writing. Talk about writing. Read about writing. Promote writers. Travel to find settings and situations to write about.

In the physical world, I like the beach and mountains, and training my mini Schnauzer. I’ve recently picked up my knitting needles again.

Tell us about The Unhewn Stone and how the story came to be.

The Unhewn Stone is a novel about a modern boy on the eve of his eighteenth birthday. He has a complex about his scarred face and gamy leg and hides behind masks and costumes, believing he can be his true self only when in disguise. He is a conjurer and clowns around, entertaining the locals who come to his father’s guesthouse (Gasthüüs) in Central Switzerland, Bürglen to be precise –birthplace of the legendary Wilhelm Tell.

The story came about because I wanted high school History students to learn about all aspects of the Middle Ages by actually living inside History, experiencing life with Stefan, rather than just reading about it in text books.  I also wanted them to discover something about themselves and question their values the way Stefan does; the way I did while writing the story. Like us, Stefan thinks it will be a breeze to cope in the 14th century, due to his superior knowledge compared to mere peasants, and his ability to perform ‘magic’. He couldn’t be more wrong.

The Unhewn Stone placed 3rd in the Preditors and Editors Readers’ Poll Awards 2011 for YA Books.

A peek at The Unhewn Stone:

Fighting legends in the Middle Ages is a dangerous game, even for the modern young magician known as the Chosen One.

By means of a magic orb, an opportunity presents for Stefan to travel back to 1307, the era of the Tell legend. His grandfather urges him to go. He wants Stefan to restore family honour by preventing the events of the legend from happening. You see, in the very town where Wilhelm Tell is revered above all others, Stefan is an outsider. He is a Gessler, descended from the tyrant governor who forced Tell to shoot and arrow through the apple on his son’s head. Stefan’s family still bear the stigma after 700 years.

Stefan’s mission is to stop Tell from killing Governor Gessler and thus prevent Tell from becoming the Swiss National Hero of Liberty. After all, Tell is a killer, so is there really any difference between freedom fighters and terrorists? Stefan’s grandfather suggests that while Stefan is in medieval Switzerland he should try to discover the alchemist’s secret of changing metal into gold. If Stefan can do this, his grandfather promises, he’ll lose his complex and get his heart’s desire. For Stefan that means the love of the cool beauty Ursula. Pursued by a shape shifting sibyl and an evil knight, and mistrusted by his distant family, Stefan is trapped inside the legend with no hope of escape.

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

I’ve had three short stories published by MuseItUp:

Billy the Bonsai Bull is a true story told from Billy’s point of view. This story fits well as a short chapter book for Middle Graders as it deals with bullying, loneliness, and the difference between true and false friends, but it was written for my husband and me. It symbolizes life on our Australian grazing property, which we sold several years ago.

Happiness Guaranteed is mainstream Science Fiction but older teens would find it interesting as a futuristic psychological thriller.

A Summer Squall features a 10 year old boy, but again I wrote it for myself as a metaphor for the writing process. Young teens would enjoy the adventure but might not get the literary aspect, so I’d have to say this one is mainstream fiction...though much of this story is based on fact.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

I’ve written 1st drafts of two mysteries and a fantasy, but they need a lot of work before I can consider submitting them, even to a critique group. I’m sweating blood over these works in progress.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Learn your craft. Take criticism to head not to heart, and try to accept it doesn’t always come from reader ignorance. Sometimes the writer needs to clarify a problem in the manuscript.

Anything else you want readers to know?

Yes, I welcome everyone to my new Forum for Readers, Writers and Travellers, here.   You can join us by logging in via your Yahoo, Facebook or Twitter etc. Readers talk about reading, find books by new authors and ask questions or make suggestions. Authors do the same, as well as talk about writing and showcase their work. Travellers tell us about their trips. They can be most helpful to future travellers and answer writers who need information about places and people for their settings and characters.

Where can readers find you and your books?

 My books are available at

And all online ebook stores

My website with the book video trailer, Swiss widget and excerpt.
My blog
Facebook and Twitter

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Meet Tween/YA Author Tammy Lowe

Today we welcome Tween/YA author Tammy Lowe who also belongs to my favorite profession: teaching.

A bit about Tammy in her own words:

I live up here in the Great White North with my husband of twenty years and our teenage son. From September to June, I am surrounded by preschoolers and covered in glitter and glue. Once school is out, I grab my hubby and our son, and we are off on some grand adventure. We’ve explored pyramids in Egypt and sailed down a river in rural China on a tiny raft. We’ve slept in the tower of a 15th century Scottish castle, searched for the Loch Ness Monster, and have even dined at a Bedouin camp in the Arabian Desert. I love to explore this amazing world of ours.

Why did you pick to write books for Tween/Young Adults?

It wasn’t a conscious decision. I wrote the story that was inside me and the tween/young adult genre is where my “voice” naturally fits in.

What types of books do you like to read?

I seem to gravitate toward action packed adventures. I love Suzanne Collins, Sidney Sheldon, Wilbur Smith…the list goes on and on. Anne of Green Gables and Jane Eyre are my two all-time favourite books though.

Tell us about The Acadian Secret and how the story came to be.

As a kid, I loved to read books and watch shows like Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables. I loved anything set in the “olden days”.

When I was about ten years old, I began to wonder about time travel. My biggest wish was that I’d end up back in the pioneer era. I wanted to go and hang out with spoiled Nellie Olsen. I don’t remember why I wished for Nellie over Laura Ingalls, but I think it had something to do with the fact that her parents owned the candy shop.

I had it all figured out. I didn’t want to live in the 18th or 19th century; I’d miss my family too much. And I can’t live without modern comforts. I wanted the freedom to travel back and forth through time.

So strong was my wish to time travel, I even dressed the part, as much as I could, without raising anyone’s suspicions. I wore dresses to school every day, when all my friends wore jeans and t-shirts. I had to be prepared just in case it worked, and I was whisked through time. That summer, I even begged my mom to buy me a bonnet. She did. I wore that white bonnet everywhere. If I ended up in Walnut Grove or Avonlea, I was prepared. (Yes, I embraced my inner dork.)

By the sixth grade I was old enough to realize that time travel probably wasn’t going to be a reality for me, so I decided that when I grew up, I’d write a book about a girl who could travel back and forth through time. The Acadian Secret is a Tween/YA Paranormal Action-Adventure about a young girl who can…time travel.

Here's a brief glimpse at The Acadian Secret:

Elisabeth London is keeping her new friends a secret from her parents. Not only do they live on the other side of the world in the Scottish Highlands, they lived more than three hundred and fifty years ago. Her mom and dad would never allow her to go gallivanting about seventeenth century Scotland.  They won’t even let her go to the mall by herself yet.

Twelve-year-old Elisabeth is old enough to know there is no such thing as magic, but when her quartz crystal necklace has the power to transport her back and forth in time, she no longer knows what to think. The only thing she is certain of is that she loves spending carefree days with Quinton, the mischievous nephew of a highland warrior, and sassy little Fiona, a farmer’s daughter.

However, Elisabeth’s adventures take a deadly turn when she is charged with witchcraft. At a time and place in history when witch-hunts were common, those found guilty were executed, children included. Elisabeth must race to find her way back home, while trying to stay one step ahead of the witch-hunter determined to see her burned at the stake.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

Yes. I am in the middle of researching and writing the next part of Elisabeth’s adventure.

Where can readers find you and your books?

 I can be found at:



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Meet Middle Grade Author Beth Overmyer

Today we welcome Middle Grade author Beth Overmyer to Carpinello's Writing Pages. Beth, an Ohio native, writes for middle graders and young adults. Her debut novel In A Pickle was published by MuseItUp Publishing, and she has had shorter fiction published in various e-zines

Why did you choose to write books for Middle Grade readers?

I really enjoyed Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and I related well to the voice and the characters. I have a younger sense of humor and fun. A sense of what a youthful audience would like is important. It’s also important to like it yourself

What types of books do you like to read?

I like anything from Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy to Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt, and a lot in between. Books that help you escape, help you find yourself, or simply entertain…all have merit and help you grow on some level, even if they show you what not to do.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

The cliché answer: I like reading, and chilling with my family and my cats. I also enjoy good music and dancing when no one is watching.

Tell us about In A Pickle and how the story came to be.

In A Pickle came about in a random sort of way. I’ve always liked time-travel, so I thought “Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a cat that time-travels?” Well, the cat didn’t make it to print, but his owner, Charlie, did. And once I had the character in my head, his adventure took off from there, and the story almost told itself.

Here's a peak at In A Pickle: 

Charlie Pickle can't stay put in the year 1920 due to an annoying habit of time-traveling. On a trip back to 1910, he meets a man with a secret. Murder makes the headlines that day, and Charlie's new friend knows who the guilty party is. Now, not only does Charlie have bullies and murderers to contend with, he's got some history to fix.

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them. 

In A Pickle is my debut. I’ve had various short stories published in e-zines and anthologies, though, which ranged from comedic horror to speculative humor (A Fairytale Intervention, for example.)

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story? 

I’m working on a middle grade novel about junior high students who develop superpowers. There is something different and special about them, but that’s a surprise I don’t want to give away. I also have some young adult projects and one or two screenplays and stage plays on the backburner.

What advice do you have for other authors? 

Keep writing. Read. Read A LOT, in and out of your genre/age group. And be sure to edit your work, even if you think it’s all that and a bag of chips.

Where can readers find you and your books? 

They can purchase In A Pickle in e-book form through my publisher’s website http://museituppublishing.com as well as Amazon.com. It should also be available from Barnes and Noble’s website sometime in the near future.